Wednesday, 2 September 2015


A week or so ago Rog announced he was going to do a series on interesting churches in his area of Norfolk.So I thought I'd do the same for our area of Suffolk. Decided I'd start with the little round towered Church at which we usually worship, illustrated above. The round tower is the oldest part of the church and is reputed to have been built as a place where people took refuge from marauding Danes, raidng along the nearby River Brett.

We've been going there regularly for the past couple of years, so I thought I knew the church fairly well, but a couple of Sundays ago (after Service) I started looking closely at the pews, which are a mixture of old and new, and I found something I'd not noticed before. Carved into the back of one of the pews, above a fairly simple area of linenfold carving was the date photographed above - 1537.  I talked to the church organist, who told me that in 1933 the pews were getting a bit shaky, so were repaired, but it was decided to use all the parts of the old timber that were capable of being reused.  It seemed that a good deal of the carving which dates from early Tudor days was in reasonably good condition, and the above date tied in fairly well with that bit of word-of-mouth folk history. It's good to have the two dates almost exactly four centuries apart, although the older parts of the pews seem to me to be of two totally different styles. I think a bit more research is called for.

Near the front of the church (which is also near where we usually sit) are the two rather jolly little faces carved on a bench end illustrated above.  The tower is believed to date from the tenth century, the major part of the nave appears to date (from the evidence of a decorated crown post) to the first part of the fourteenth century.  And I seem to remember showing on this blog a stone, in the nave, decorated with celtic strapwork that appears to date from the eighth/ninth century.  All of which seems to be a promising start  from a small Suffolk Church. Must have a good poke around others in the area.

Been a long day to day - got up at 5.45 a.m. to go to the Long Melford antique fair; and as we've got an early start tomorrow- plumber attending to a leak in the boiler, we're going to try and get a reasonably early night.

Goodnight All.


Crowbard said...

I do like your East Anglian towers, Mike. What is the church's name, please?
That's super carving on the pew-ends, the date looks a bit like an apprentice job though.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. It is St. Mary's Church, Aldham. One of the commentaries on it (see Google) says rather dismissively:- "Most of the pews are nineteenth or twentieth century restorations. This, while true enough in a way, is, as you can see, nowhere near the whole truth. Good, sensible restoration, I'd say, whilst retaining the best of the older work.